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Alisal Ranch Agricultural Reservoir

    The project entails construction and use of an approximately 1.5 million gallon (4.7 acre ft), earthen-lined agricultural water storage reservoir that would draw water from the Santa Ynez River.  It would approximately 0.59 acres in area (160 ft x 160 ft), with a depth of 14 ft.  Construction of the reservoir would require approximately 26,600 cubic yards of cut and 22,300 cubic yards of fill, assuming 20 percent shrinkage.  The total area of disturbance during construction would be approximately 1.6 acres.  The proposed reservoir would be used to support year-round agricultural operations on the same parcel.  It would not be used to provide water for the property owner’s neighboring parcels (i.e. Alisal Guest Ranch and River Course). The reservoir’s water would be provided from an existing well located on the east side of the southern end of the Alisal Bridge.  The project would also include new overhead power supply lines with at least four power poles (PG&E), water pumps, telemetry, controls, fencing, and a 240 square ft (8 ft high) equipment - pump - storage area.  The water pipeline route would extend from the well along the west side of Alisal Road and would then follow the power line route westward to the reservoir.  The reservoir area would be accessed by a new 200 ft long by 16 ft wide all-weather road that would tie into an existing all-weather road that currently serves the Solvang Municipal Waste Water Treatment Plant.

    Permit Application Numbers: 10CUP-00000-00018


      The project is located approximately 656 ft south of the Santa Ynez River and approximately 1,000 ft west of Alisal Road (no site address, APN 137-270-025,) just south of the City of Solvang.


      An application for a Conditional Use Permit for the Alisal Reservoir (10CUP-00000-00018) was received by the County of Santa Barbara on May 28, 2010, and a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) was prepared for the proposed project.  The Draft MND was released for a 30-day public review period through the State Clearinghouse (SCH #: 2010111071) on November 16, 2010. The public review period closed on December 17, 2010.

      During the public review period, Planning and Development received public comments from the Air Pollution Control District.  Late comments were received by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Fish and Game and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

      All of the comments were considered, and appropriate changes were incorporated into the proposed Final Mitigated Negative Declaration dated January 24, 2011, in the following sections: Biological Resources and Cultural Resources.  The proposed Final Mitigated Negative Declaration concluded that with identified mitigation measures and implementation of the required mitigation monitoring program, project impacts on the environment would be less than significant.

      On January 24, 2011, the Zoning Administrator approved the project and adopted the Negative Declaration and the mitigation monitoring program contained in the Conditions of Approval.

      The Zoning Administrator’s approval of the proposed project was appealed to the Planning Commission on February 2, 2011 by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians (SYBCI).  The SYBCI requested preparation of an EIR to address potentially significant project-related impacts from construction of the reservoir at the foot of an elevated landform that has been identified as the likely site of an ethnohistoric Chumash shrine.

      In a letter dated April 8, 2011, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) provided information indicating that the proposed project could result in additional overall water consumption, which can lead to reduced surface flows, and in turn may result in adverse effects to steelhead or their habitat.  NMFS requested that the County undertake further environmental review of the project.

      The County subsequently determined that since a fair argument can be made the project may have a significant effect on the environment, an EIR should be prepared.

      A Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) was prepared and was circulated for public review and comment for 45 days beginning June 12, 2014. The Draft EIR did not identify any significant, unavoidable (Class I) impacts. An environmental hearing was held on June 26, 2014 at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Building at 5:30 P.M. The public comment period on the EIR ended on July 28, 2014. Due to the nature and scope of the public comments received on the DEIR, the document is being revised and will be re-circulated in its entirety. No additional public hearings are scheduled at this time.


      June 26, 2014 - Environmental Hearing (Audio Recording)

      January 24, 2011 - Zoning Administrator



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